Natus Vincere is an Ukrainian Esports club that originated in 2009. It has multiple departments and disciplines in the world of esports. Throughout the 13 years of its existence, NAVI teams have managed to win dozens of local and international tournaments. Here is an overview of the Natus Vincere History.

The beginning: 2009

The original NAVI CS 1.6 rosterThe original NAVI CS 1.6 roster

The creation of the legendary esports organization was announced back in winter 2009, in Dubai. It was at the IEM tournament stage that Murat “Arbalet” Zumashevich brought up the idea and later on he created the very first NAVI team and became their general sponsor. Arbalet helped the team with establishing training facilities, taking care of the team’s financial needs, such as salaries, and international flights to go and compete in the tournaments of that time.

The first person in the roster was Sergei “Starix” Ischuk. He was behind the creation of the first Counter-Strike roster, calling it NAVI. Originally the word meant nothing and was just a reference to the Avatar movie, but later on it became the abbreviation of Natus Vincere meaning Born to win in Latin. The complete roster, launched on December 17, 2009 included these players:

  • Edward;

  • Markeloff;

  • Starix;

  • Ceh9;

  • Zeus.

The roster was led by Oleksandr "ZeroGravity" Kokhanovsky, who was the manager of the talented Counter-Strike players.

The Fist Success: 12 medals in 2010

NAVI started to gain popularity in the world of esports. They had already obtained 12 medals, 8 of those being gold. By the end of the year, NAVI players took top rankings of Starix was 4th, Edward was 5th, Zeus became the captain of the year. It looked like this was a perfect start for a young roster. They took the top spot at the DreamHack Winter 2010, World Cyber Games 2010, Arbalet Dallas 2010, ESWC 2010, Dreamhack Summer 2010, IEM 4 etc. The roster was the first one to win 3 major titles in one year. 

NAVI’s further development saw the launch of it's Dota roster. Back in 2011 the full roster included the following legendary names:

  • Dendi;

  • XBOCT;

  • LighTofHeaveN;

  • ArtStyle;

  • Puppey.

And they surely started their NAVI careers with a BLAST, winning The International — the very first one, claiming a million dollar prize which was a sum unheard of in the world of esports.

2011: The launch of FIFA, StarCraft II and League of Legends Divisions

2 years after the club started its confident walk in the esports scenes of Dota and CS, it was time to have a look at other disciplines too. However, the opening of FIFA, Starcraft II and LoL departments did not bring the expected results: in the end the players of these disciplines were removed from the club. The only exception being Yozhyk, who was one of the strongest FIFA players of that time and earned 20 medals for his club in various competitions.

2012-2014: The Important Period for NAVI history

NAVI’s Counter Strike roster started to become more and more refined. Valve released CS:GO, a better iteration of the legendary game that had improved mechanics as well as better graphics. Within the same competitive 2012, the club signed a European League of Legends roster and had a couple of impressive performances, but this one did not last long either. It was disbanded by the end of the year. 

In 2013, the club already had a successful World of Tanks roster that earned a whopping $350,000 across many competitions held in the US, China, Poland and others.

By 2014 NAVI’s Counter-Strike roster was modified. New faces replaced the old ones: Denis "seized" Kostin replaced Egor "markeloff" Markelov, while Ceh9 parted ways with the club when Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovac came in. This new lineup had more motivation to play and win, that’s why their CS:GO match records looked better than with the previous roster. Eventually, they lifted the trophy at StarLadder StarSeries IX, going on in Kyiv, Ukraine. NAVI easily beat NIP, and Titan.

NAVI history of 2014 does not end here: Blizzard launched a new card game, Hearthstone, based on their Warcraft Franchise, which instantly gained popularity among gamers and also entered into the world of esports. 

On the other side, the Dota 2 roster expanded. The second one was launched in NA, but it started with constant failures on the international scene, resulting in another disband within the club. There were changes in the CIS roster too.

The next year started with lots of positivity: Hearthstone and Heroes of Storm divisions recorded some improvements, but the road of success was a short one: it took only one year to appear at the bottom of the tournaments again.

2016: Welcoming S1mple

S1mple in NAVIS1mple in NAVI

NAVI’s CS:GO roster started to deliver victories at DreamHack ZOWIE Leipzig 2016 and Counter Pit Season 2 tournaments. 2016 was the time to farewell Zeus, as Oleksandr "S1mple" Kostyliev became their next talent to play within the main roster.

With his assistance, NAVI won ESL One: New York. The latter became his first tournament, where s1mple also took the first of many MVP titles under the NAVI tag. 

Turning to the Dota 2 roster, it had undergone changes and now looked promising enough, maintaining its core players Dendi and GeneraL. By 2016, the club had earned about $1,400,000 in tournament prize pools, as well as 35 titles.

2017: Success and Failure of NAVI teams replace one another

2017 was a tough year. Dota 2 and CS:GO rosters had a hard time getting their proper form back. In Summer, Dota 2 team was completed with the welcome of Crystallize and RodjER. The team reached the semi final of DreamLeague Season 8, and won the Adrenaline Cyber League as well.

Changes were inevitable in the CS:GO roster too: seized was replaced with Denis “electroNic” Sharipov, while GuardiaN left the club, opening the door for Zeus to return.

NAVI history took another turn with the rising popularity of mobile and battle royale games. In 2018, PUBG department opened and the roster won $50,000 from the debuting year prize pool at the Global Loot League Season 1.

Looking at the traditional Dota 2 roster, it had to be changed, according to the needs of the club, therefore the new lineup welcomed:

  • Blizzy;

  • MagicaL;

  • Chuvash;

  • Sonneiko.

Coming back to the CS:GO roster, S1mple’s team placed second at FACEIT Major London 2018. Despite losing in the Grand Finals, the star player took the MVP title of the tournament. The next year was also full of ups and downs, as B1ad3 became the coach of the CS:GO roster. Boombl4 and GuardiaN came back to the main roster, while Edward and Zeus had to go behind the stages. This was also the year when NAVI Junior was launched. Creating academy teams was trendy even before 2019. Other smaller departments had their positive days too: Quake and PUBG teams proved their worth too.

SoNNeikO in NAVISoNNeikO in NAVI

2020: The pandemic and its consequences

Playing only on a handful of LAN events, NAVI rosters did not lose their focus and continued to grow both individually and teamplay-wise. Perfecto replaced GuardiaN and quickly adapted to the playstyle of the team. Soon the updated team won IEM Katowice. At the same time, Dota 2 team had bad days within 2020: GeneraL and RodjER were back again, but were not doing their best up until OGA Dota Pit Season 4. NAVI’s Fortnite division opened again, while PUBG Mobile opened in autumn.

2021: NAVI Era hopes

Natus Vincere history hit another milestone in 2021. S1mple’s team won PGL Major Stockholm while 3 players appeared on the top of HLTV Global Rankings. New departments opened too: Valorant and Rocket League had already gained popularity across the globe, and had a decent esports infrastructure internationally.

NAVI at PGL Major StockholmNAVI at PGL Major Stockholm

2022 and on

In 2022 everything looked like it would have been NAVI's year, but the political conflict between Ukraine and Russia turned into a military one. NAVI had to relocate and it's CSGO roster found a new, temporary home in Poland. They stayed at the Kinguin facility. NAVI qualified for the playoffs of IEM Katowice 2022 but fell to G2. Later they reached the semifinals of ESL Pro League but could not do much against the mighty FaZe Clan. Players were mentally exhausted. They did not train much, that’s why they failed at the start of the year. 

On May 28 Boombl4 left the roster, and the kick was reportedly "related to high reputational risks for the club, and it is not the result of his game." Additionally, NAVI COO Oleksii "xaoc" Kucherov mentioned that Electronic and Perfecto will not be moving away from the club, but will be relocating.

NAVI history has been full of ups and downs. In the moment, when it seemed that the club’s era was kicking off, failures came back again. However, fans believe in the rise of the legendary club once more, in all of its divisions.